This week on The Race, the teams flew 5000 miles to an African paradise for an island hopping adventure chock full of banana hungry tortoises, stubborn oxen, treasure maps and one really hilarious fruit vendor.
Coming off three solid wins, Louie & Michael led the pack 5000 miles to the island of Mahe in the Seychelles. Most teams hadn't heard of the beautiful vacation spot, nor could they pronounce it any better than the French we've heard them butcher time and again for the past two episodes.
The airport evened the playing field as all six remaining teams were on the same flight. The key to breaking ahead was getting seats at the front of the plane, and resident idiots Brent & Caite somehow managed to come back from behind and ended up being the first team to the first clue box. The first three teams to arrive (Brent & Caite, Steve & Allie and Dan & Jordan) got an hour head start on their helicopter ride to another island, La Digue where they'd complete the Detour. Jet & Cord, Louie & Michael and Carol & Brandy were forced to sit and wait the hour out in the heliport.
Apparently La Digue is really, really far out of the way, and one of the most slowly paced and relaxing places in the world. This was, of course, according to Phil's voice over while a montage of locals chilling out and waving at the camera played. Although, if I lived on a paradise like island my whole life, I'd probably just chill out on the beach using a coconut for a pillow, too. The Detour was a choice between two leisurely sounding activities: Turtle Toddle or Ox Trot. I am quite pissed almost all the teams chose Ox Trot, because, come on! Turtle Toddle?! How cute does that sound! A toddling turtle?! There is no contest there! In Turtle Toddle, teams had to (adorably) lure a giant tortoise with a banana through a field, then carry a bunch of bananas 1.5 miles to the harbor where the hammiest local in Amazing Race history would give you your next clue. In Ox Trot, they had to fill an ox driven cart with coconuts (who knew they were so bouncy?) without losing a single one and then take them to the same fruit vendor at the harbor for the clue. If they didn't have all the coconuts in their cart, they had to drive it back, gather the lost coconuts, and return.
Let me just take a minute to talk about the guy they plucked from the harbor to be the clue giver. Normally the locals are bored, clearly aren't actors, and just kind of hand off the clue without any pizazz. Not this guy. He took his job seriously, and I loved it. He joked around with the racers, pretended to look around the coconuts when he knew there was one missing, yelled at them for said missing coconut ("YOU DIDN'T LOAD ALL THE COCONUTS!") and happily whipped the clue out from behind his back like a magician or something when they completed the task. He guarded those clues like nobody's business. So, La Digue fruit vendor, I thank you for making what was otherwise a pretty boring episode fun for me.
Everyone ended up going with Ox Trot, which I think was a horrible idea, considering Steve & Allie breezed through Turtle Toddle even if they did forget their backpacks. Plus, they got to feed a cute tortoise a banana! In a tropical paradise! The little guy looked so happy to get his treat once Allie lured him across the finish line, and Allie was happy to let him chomp away, as they carried their bananas down to the harbor. It wasn't until they were on the boat to the Road Block that they realized their backpacks were left on the island. Steve luckily had all their passports/money/important documents in some kind of fanny pack (such a Dad thing to do) so they were able to continue racing without their packs. Does this mean they'll have to run the rest of the race without their backpacks though? Will they be stuck wearing the same clothes they took to the island with them? What if their next leg is in the Alps? I guess we'll just have to wait and see. But that could create some great TV drama, Steve & Allie hiking a snow capped mountain in just bathing suits and fanny packs.
With the Ox Trotters, three teams screwed up and didn't fill their cart all the way. Brent & Caite (surprise, surprise) lost their lead because of it, and almost their entire relationship. Watching those two argue is just getting annoying now. Her voice is so grating on my nerves at this point, I can't wait for the day they're eliminated, just so we won't have to hear it anymore. I think their ox hated them too, because most of their trouble came from not being able to mush the animal into motion. Watching the other teams pass them up while they insulted each other in a stopped cart was so, so satisfying. Also, their insult vocabulary is quite stunning and diverse.
Dan & Jordan and Mike & Louie didn't forget any coconuts, and followed Steve & Allie to the Road Block on yet another island, St. Pierre. In the Road Block, teams had to dive into the Indian ocean to retrieve a message in a bottle that ended up being a map, which would lead them to the Pit Stop after they assembled it on the beach.
Back on La Digue, after all the teams had checked in on St. Pierre (Steve & Allie came in first, sans backpacks, and won a pretty sweet package from 7 Up, including $7000 each!), Jet & Cord and Carol & Brandy battled it out for last place. First, Carol & Brandy couldn't wrangle their tortoise. Then Jet & Cord forgot a coconut and had to go back. Then Carol & Brandy switched to Ox Trot, and they too, forgot a coconut. Then Jet & Cord were ahead. Then they left the bottle on the boat and checked in without the map. Then Phil told them the bad news: they'd have to go back to their boat, retrieve the map and bottle, and then come back to check in. My mouth dropped. I yelled at the TV. Not my cowboys! Carol & Brandy weren't out of the woods yet, but it was looking pretty good for them at this point. And as the cowboys swam 300 yards to their boat (which was already en route back to Le Digue) Carol & Brandy checked in. I commend the Amazing Race edit team for their skills with this back and forth, because it had me biting my nails, for sure. When Jet & Cord finally checked in, my heart sank a little. My beloved cowboys would be out of the race. Except NOT! Just like Jeff & Jordan, Jet & Cord were spared on a NON ELIMINATION LEG. Someone out there in CBS land clearly loves me! And by me I mean most of America, because I think it's pretty clear that the cute cowboys are so this season's Globetotters. Everyone loves them. Because they're funny, endearing and amazing. And a race without the cowboys just wouldn't be a fun race at all.
Hopefully the Speed Bump for Jet & Cord won't hurt them too much next week. I have faith that they'll be able to come back with a vengeance and make it to the top five. Because, oh my gravy if they don't, I won't be a happy camper.